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What is orecchiette pasta made of? - (with turnip greens sauce)

Aggiornamento: 20 gen 2019

The #orecchiette, “little ears”, are a distinctive pasta shape from #Puglia Region named after its round concave aspect recalling of the silhouette of an ear. In Puglia are homemade by housewives, strictly by hand, and can be dressed in a thousand ways: with tomato and minced meat sauce, with peas or with squid ink. Although the ideal seasoning is the famous turnip greens sauce, that with its bitter aftertaste enhances even more the flavour of this speciality.

There are different local legends on the origin of this dish, the most common theory wants orecchiette to be native to Provence, where in the Middle Ages a dry pasta (crosets) was produced, in a shape that recalls the orecchietta one and then be brought to #Bari from the Angevins around the thirteenth century. Someone hypothesizes, perhaps with an excess of imagination, that their shape derives from the typical roofs of the trullo, a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical ceiling. Certainly, regardless of origin, orecchiette have found in Puglia and in the nearby Lucania area the perfect territory to take root in the uses and in the gastronomy, so much to become even a local core speciality.

Pack the orecchiette. Orecchiette from Bari are made with durum wheat semolina, water and salt, while the Salento ones are made of semi-whole wheat flour, water and salt. The Bari one are smaller and thin and have an amber-colored color derived from the semolina, while the Salento are larger and thick and take on a grayish white color. Knead the flour with water and a little salt until a smooth and homogeneous dough is rather soft. Make from the dough cords of about one centimeter in diameter and cut into 1-inch pieces . With the rounded tip of the blade of the knife crush and drag the pieces of dough one at a time onto a pastry board to get the typical shape. The dough should be left to dry on a frame with fine weft metal mesh and placed in a cool and airy place. You can eat fresh even if it is even better after two days of drying.

The turnips There are different varieties of turnips, which differ for the greater or lesser precociousness, but generally in the South Italy the harvest takes place from late autumn to late March, while in the North it stops at the first winter frosts. For this recipe turnip tops the inflorescences, the smaller leaves and the softer stalks of the Brassica rapa, are harvested.

WINE PAIRING: #Malvasia secca del Salento, #Verdeca, #Grillo


Doses for 4 people: - orecchiette 400 gr - clean turnip greens 400 gr - 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil - salt to taste - freshly ground black pepper - 3 cloves garlic - 5 fillets anchovies - chili pepper to taste - grated ricotta dura or pecorino cheese 50 gr

Throw orecchiette in plenty of boiling salted water and after a few minutes add the turnips. Drain when pasta is “al dente”, firm to the bite. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and dress with the extra-virgin olive oil in which golden anchovies have melted and cloves of garlic were roasted and then removed. To improve the savory flavour of this simple but yummy dish you can add grated ricotta dura (which is a ricotta made to dry and baked) or grated pecorino cheese on top.

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